Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Category: Young Adult
Livia is a Dreamstrider. The only one of her kind, she travels through the dream world, Onieros and can leave her body to inhabit the bodies of others as a spy for her kingdom. She can only do this for short periods of time, and it's always risky, because if the person she is inhabiting wakes up, she will be forced out of their body and lost in the dreamworld unless her own body is nearby.
Dreamstrider is an interesting concept, but sadly I didn't feel like it lived up to its potential. I found most of the book to be rather dull. It only became interesting near the end when something big finally happened. More world building would have helped the story and more description of the dream world. Also more background on the world and the three kingdoms in it would have been nice, and it would have been helpful if a lot more on the origin of Nightmare had been added. Where did it come from? Why were its bones left on the mountainside overlooking the city? There is a whole chunk of mythology for this world that seemed to be missing.
One other issue I had about this book was that at times there were some odd words used that I felt didn't really fit what the author was trying to convey. For example there is this sentence: "He follows her gauze-swathed leg up to its terminus and raises a brow at her." It's terminus? This is supposed to be a scene where a character is trying to be seductive to a guard and that word just kind of ruined it.
As for the characters, I thought they were ok, but I never really got too attached to any of them. I found Livia hard to like at times because she lacked so much in confidence. She was constantly berating herself and it got old, although I could see how it fit into the plot of the books once I got to the end. The relationship between Livia and Brandt was nice, and for the most part I liked it, even though I thought it could have been better developed. He was supportive of Livia and he encouraged her, but I thought it should have been obvious to each of them how they felt about each other.
There were several things about the book that I did really like. What I liked most was the whole dreamstriding concept. The dream world was interesting even if there could have been more world building there, and more time spent there. I liked that the people in the dream world didn't always look like people, but could disguise themselves as animals or other things, like the Fox, the lizard, and the wind. And I think the cover for this book is gorgeous. If you look at the details of the cover you will see that it includes things that were in the dream world.
It seems as if this is a stand-alone, and it really should be as everything is wrapped up in the end, which is a plus.
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